Humane Society International / South Korea


Bliznetsov/iStock.com

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—The National Assembly and Humane Society International/Korea have organized a biomedical research multi-stakeholder forum called Alternatives to Animal Testing with Scientific Approaches.

Co-hosting the event are the chair of National Assembly’s Health and Welfare Committee Minseok Kim, National Assembly members In-soon Nam and Hyun-young Shin, and the National Assembly Animal Welfare Forum. The forum is sponsored by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and the Osong Medical Innovation Foundation.

Prior to the forum discussion, the skin irritation test that was recently accepted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development will be showcased. This new method was developed using the model KeraSkinTM, funded by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety’s Korea Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods. Kyung-Min Lim at Ehwa Womans University and the company Biosolution led this project. Now that the method is recognized as an international standard, it can be used for regulatory testing on cosmetics, industrial chemicals or biomedical devices.

Alternatives to Animal Testing with Scientific Approaches will be attended by representatives from Biosolution, BioToxtech, Korea Institute of Chemical Technology, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Nexel, Humane Society International/Korea and Bundang Seoul National University Hospital. Participants will share opinions on the current challenges, barriers in promoting alternatives to animal testing and what should change to move towards non-animal approaches.

In South Korea, while there are alternatives available, animal testing is still frequently used as the first option in research and toxicology. This is due to the lack of awareness and dissemination of new methods and has resulted in the widespread notion that alternatives are expensive or non-existent. This unfortunately discourages companies from proactively using newer, non-animal testing methods.

Committee Chair Minseok Kim said: “Animal testing replacement is relatively a new subject for health research in South Korea. However, as the technology advances and the general public is increasingly aware of animal welfare concerns, Korea is in a very good position to lead the health research and development that can mimic human responses rather than relying on animal models. I look forward to hearing from industries how we, lawmakers, can support the effort.”

Assembly member Nam said: “While there are research efforts to replace animal testing, we need a system where these research results can be disseminated, and industries are encouraged to practice them. Today’s dialogue is to understand the perspectives from relevant stakeholders in support of the bill, Act on the Promotion of Development, Dissemination and Use of Alternatives to Animal Testing Methods, also known as the PAAM Act. Feedback from industries is valuable to continue inclusive dialogue in advancing the current research and development based on humane approaches.”

Borami Seo, interim executive director and senior policy manager for HSI/Korea, said: “HSI/Korea has been pointing out the problems surrounding the absence of strategic development and dissemination plans in Korea. While Korea is renowned for its advanced technology, conventional animal testing approaches continue to be preferred despite growing concerns about their scientific and ethical limitations. We hope to see more stakeholders come together and join the conversation for the protection of humans and animals while embracing emerging technologies that can better predict human biology.”

Forum details:

Date: September 2

Location: Biosolution head office, Seoul, South Korea

Chairperson: Borami Seo, Humane Society International/Korea

Agenda:

  • Welcome speech
  • National Assembly In-soon Nam
  • Presentation: OECD validated 3D reconstructed human skin model showcase
  • Panel discussion: Views on challenges and solutions to support alternative approaches to animal testing

Moderator:

Kyungmin Lim, College of Pharmacy, Ehwa Womans University

Panelists:

  • Choongseong Han, NEXEL
  • Jung seon Lee, Biosolution
  • Cheol-Beom Park, BioToxtech
  • Sejoong Kim, Bundang Seoul University Hospital, 3D Motive project
  • Myung Ae Bae, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology
  • Ja-young Jung, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety
  • Borami Seo, Humane Society International/Korea

Humane Society International and LIFE rescue 65 dogs from battery cages who will seek adoption in USA and Canada

Humane Society International / South Korea


HSI’s Nara Kim rescuing Jindo puppies during the Jindo Island dog meat farm closure.

SEOUL—A dog meat farm on South Korea’s famous Jindo Island, which for more than 20 years bred and slaughtered Jindo dogs for human consumption despite them being the country’s national dog breed, has closed its doors for good after coming to an agreement with Humane Society International/Korea and Korean animal protection group LIFE. The 66 year-old dog farmer Mr Kim, who also runs a local restaurant where his dogs were on the menu, was found by local authorities to have breached the Animal Protection Act by killing dogs in front of each other, after concerned residents reported hearing dogs vocalising in terror on the farm. Instead of setting up business elsewhere, the farmer signed a contract with LIFE to give up dog farming forever and agreed to remove dog meat from the menu at his restaurant.

During the rescue, one of the dogs was found to have a microchip confirming that she is a pure bred Jindo officially registered as a “Natural Monument” under the name Jinju meaning “pearl.” The South Korean government designated the Jindo the country’s 53rd Natural Monument in 1962, nominally affording them protection under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act, meaning the farmer could face additional charges.

LIFE and HSI/Korea saved all 65 Jindo dogs and puppies found languishing in small, wire battery cages on the farm. Their fate would have been to be killed by electrocution and butchered for dog meat, and the rescuers were horrified to discover a large pile of collars in the killing area of the farm, each representing a dog who lost their life to the brutal industry. Humane Society International/Korea, which has closed down 17 other dog meat farms in the country, is campaigning for legislation in South Korea to end the dog meat industry.

Nara Kim, HSI/Korea’s campaign manager, said: “All the dogs on this meat farm are Jindos which is supposed to be Korea’s national dog breed.  But instead, these poor dogs have been locked away in filthy wire cages, fed on restaurant waste, denied even the most basic care and any level of human kindness. As a proud Korean I always find it upsetting to see the cruelty of dog meat farms, but it felt especially shocking to see our country’s national dog breed being exploited like this on Jindo Island. I shed tears when I saw the killing area where I know dogs were killed in front of each other. There was a big pile of collars where they were electrocuted. Thankfully, together with our friends at LIFE, we have been able to get these dogs out of that horrible place and ensure that no animals will ever suffer again in those cages. The authorities will also pursue cruelty charges against the farmer. As the Animal Protection Act currently offers little protection for dogs on dog meat farms, it’s encouraging to see law enforcement officials making use of those few regulations at their disposal. But in order to fully crack down on this brutal industry, we will continue to campaign for a ban on the breeding, slaughter and sale of dogs for meat.”

In-Seob Sim, president of LIFE, said: “I feel anger beyond misery. We boast about Jindo dogs being our national dog, but at the same time they are on someone’s dinner table. This is a direct example of the duality of humans, but also of the contradiction in Korean society. Is there really a difference between a treasure Jindo dog and an edible Jindo dog as the dog meat traders encourage us to think? The answer is no. They are both just Jindo dogs, almost perfect pets for companionship with people.”

The rescue follows the close of the Boknal summer season in South Korea which ended on 10 August, a time when dog meat soup or “bosintang” is most often eaten, and when hundreds of thousands of dogs bred for meat on factory farms across the country are killed. Although opinion polls show that most Koreans (84%) don’t eat dog meat, of those Koreans who do eat it, 70% consume it over Boknal, in the belief that it can help relieve the effects of the sweltering summer heat.

During this year’s Boknal, HSI/Korea teamed up with vegan chefs and restaurants Baek-rin Ahn, Nammi Plant Lab, and Jung-won Park (Haru Vegan) to encourage consumers to swap dog meat soup for delicious plant-based recipes instead. Each chef devised a fresh, plant-based take on Boknal eating, incorporating many of the ingredients traditionally found in bosintang.

The dog farm rescue by LIFE and HSI/Korea follows last month’s announcement by the Ministry of Justice that an amendment will be made to article 82 of the Civil Law to grant animals legal status, stating “animals are not objects”. Humane Society International/Korea welcomes this proposal but says the deplorable conditions on this latest dog meat farm demonstrate how vital it is that the amended law brings about an end to the cruel dog meat industry.

Nara Kim says: “With the law set to change in South Korea to grant animals legal status as individuals with lives that deserve to be protected, I hope that the time has finally come for all dog meat farms here to close their doors for good.”

Humane Society International/Korea has rescued more than 2,500 dogs from certain death from 17 dog farms, who now live with families in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The 65 Jindos from this latest rescue will now receive emergency veterinary care at a partner shelter in South Korea where they will also receive care and nutritious food while they undergo the vaccinations and medical tests required for overseas travel. Once they’re fit to fly, and COVID-19 restrictions allowing, HSI will fly the dogs to North America where they will begin their search for adoptive homes.

Facts:  

  • An estimated 1 to 2 million dogs are kept on thousands of farms across South Korea.
  • Alongside Jindos and mastiffs typically bred for meat, many dog farms also breed Labradors, golden retrievers, spaniels, huskies, beagles and other breeds.
  • In 1962, the South Korean government designated the Jindo the country’s 53rd Natural Monument, nominally affording them protection under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act.
  • Most South Koreans do not consume dog meat, and a growing population see dogs only as companion animals. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA), an estimated 6.38 million South Korean households lived with companion animals in 2020, equating to 28% of households.
  • In recent years, there have been a series of crackdowns by authorities to curb the dog meat industry include the shutting down of Taepyeong dog slaughterhouse (the country’s largest) by Seongnam City Council in November 2018, followed in July 2019 by the closure of Gupo dog meat market in Busan, and a declaration in October that year by the mayor of Seoul that the capital city is “dog slaughter free”.
  • This farm closure was conducted under COVID-19 health and safety restrictions. A veterinarian tests for the presence of the H3N2 virus (“canine influenza”) at the time the dogs receive their rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvo virus, parainfluenza and Leptospira vaccines. The dogs will be quarantined for at least 30 days and health certified again prior to transport overseas, in accordance with international export and import requirements.

Download Photos/Video of the Rescue

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From Arica to Tierra del Fuego, more than 3,900 dogs and cats living on the streets have received food and basic veterinary care through 30 animal protection organizations in Chile

Humane Society International


Perros
Pequitas de Hualpen

SANTIAGO, Chile—Since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared worldwide in 2020 more than 3,900 animals and counting have been fed and assisted thanks to donations made by Humane Society International.

This effort was made possible by generous aid provided by Mars, Incorporated to HSI to help communities and animals around the world during the pandemic crisis.

In coordination with thirty animal protection organizations in Chile, HSI provided more than 16 tons of food—the equivalent of the approximate weight of a bus—to dogs and cats impacted by the strict pandemic confinement measures. Additionally, more than 900 animals received basic veterinary care to treat wounds, skin problems and other ailments.

Thanks to the donation made by Mars, Incorporated, HSI delivered 16 basic emergency kits equipped with supplies and medications needed to assess and manage ailments like skin conditions, small injuries and wounds, to various groups in central Chile, benefiting more than 570 animals who required immediate assistance.

To date, local organizations in Chile delivered 16.4 tons of food for dogs and cats in 26 cities and towns across Chile. The groups distributed the aid in two phases: one starting in 2020 and the other throughout the first quarter of 2021.

“The COVID-19 lockdown has severely affected the health and well-being of dogs and cats throughout the Latin American region. Through this important collaboration with Mars, we have been able to mitigate some effects related to the lack of food and veterinary services,” said Alexandra Rothlisberger, companion animals and engagement director for HSI in Latin America and the Caribbean.

HSI recognizes that each country is experiencing the effects of the pandemic differently, and has varying animal welfare needs, which is why the Mars, Incorporated support has been extended to different parts of the world. This aid has also reached many countries in Latin America, including but not limited to Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana, Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala and Costa Rica, and in the Caribbean, to the Dominican Republic.

Humane Society International / Europe


mustafagull/iStock.com

Dove and The Body Shop have joined PETA, Cruelty Free Europe, Humane Society International/Europe, Eurogroup for Animals and the ECEAE (representing a total of 100 member organisations from 26 EU member states*) to urgently mobilise 1 million European citizens and save cruelty-free cosmetics in Europe, following threats to Europe’s longstanding ban on animal testing for cosmetics.

In 2004, after decades of campaigning by consumers, animal protection organisations and several companies, the European Union banned the testing of cosmetics products on animals. In 2009, it prohibited tests for cosmetics ingredients and, finally, in 2013 it prohibited the sale of cosmetics that had been tested on animals. The EU’s approach became the blueprint for regulatory change in countries around the world.

ECHA is proposing new animal testing on ingredients that are known to be safe.

Yet, recent test requirements from the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) effectively destroy the bans and threaten the additional progress the European Parliament has been boldy calling for since 2018 – a global ban on all animal testing for cosmetics by 2023.

ECHA is calling for new animal testing on ingredients that have been safely used by consumers and handled safely in factories for many years – even those solely used for cosmetics. If this goes ahead, millions more animals could be subjected to cruel tests when there are other ways to generate safety data.

The time to act is now.

The two beauty brands have come together with NGOs to galvanise consumers to take action to save Europe’s ban on animal testing by signing a European Citizens Initiative – a petition-like mechanism for EU Citizens to help shape the EU by calling on the European Commission to propose new laws.

Animal testing for cosmetics is not necessary to ensure safety thanks to modern, human-relevant, non-animal scientific methods, which safety scientists have been developing and using for decades.

Speaking with a united voice to end animal testing for beauty products, The Body Shop, Dove and animal protection organisations are calling on consumers to sign a European Citizens Initiative, demanding that the European Commission:

      1. Protect and strengthen the cosmetics animal testing ban

Initiate legislative change to achieve consumer, worker and environmental protection for all cosmetics ingredients without new tests with animals for any purpose at any time.

      2. Transform EU chemicals regulation

Ensure human health and the environment are protected by managing chemicals without the addition of new animal testing requirements.

      3. Modernise regulatory science in the EU

Commit, before the end of its current term of office, to a legislative proposal plotting a road map to phase out all animal testing in the EU.

Together, they aim to get to 1 million signatures in the fastest time ever for a European Citizens Initiative – sending a clear message that ECHA’s demands for new testing break with the policy of animal testing as a last resort, backed by the European Commission, and break the wishes of EU citizens.

But they can’t do it alone.

European citizens can sign the Initiative here and tell the Commission they won’t accept broken promises from Europe, or regulations that mean animals suffer and die for cosmetics.

Joint animal protection groups state: Polls show that three quarters of adults in EU member states agree that animal testing for cosmetic products and their ingredients is unacceptable in all circumstances, and 70% back a phase-out plan for all animal testing. It’s sad that once again we have to fight a battle that Europe’s citizens thought they had already won, but with a successful European Citizens Initiative, we can make decision-makers listen, protect the ground-breaking bans and secure concerted action to end the suffering of animals in EU laboratories for good**:

Dove has spent 15 years working to change the beauty industry for the better, starting with ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’ and launching the world’s biggest self-esteem programme.  As a proudly certified cruelty-free brand, Dove has supported global bans to permanently end animal testing everywhere in the world, working alongside lawmakers, animal protection organisations and like-minded companies to achieve this goal.

Firdaous El Honsali, Senior Director of Global Communications and Sustainability at Dove, says: “At Dove, we stand passionately against animal cruelty. We strongly believe that there is no role for animal testing for beauty products or their ingredients and have pioneered safe and humane alternatives to assess the safety of products and ingredients for many years. This commitment drives us to take urgent action to protect the ban against animal testing in the EU. Together with our partners, The Body Shop and leading animal protection groups, we urge both our peers in the beauty industry and the general public to lend their voice in the fight to end animal testing in the EU once and for all by signing this European Citizens Initiative.”

The Body Shop has been campaigning relentlessly against the practice of animal testing for cosmetics since 1989 – helping to lead the charge towards the current ban in Europe.

Christopher Davis, Global CSR and Activism Director, The Body Shop International, adds: “The Body Shop was the first global beauty brand to fight against animal testing in cosmetics and this commitment has been at the forefront of our activist campaigns for over three decades. Our work with our campaign partners Cruelty Free International led to the original European Union ban in 2013. Today, we are calling the EU – home to the world’s largest cosmetics market – to stick to the trailblazing promise they made. We are proud to collaborate with Dove and speak as one voice, along with all those working towards a global end to animal testing for cosmetics, in support of this European Citizen’s Initiative.”

EU timeline on animal testing

2004: EU implements a ban on animal testing for finished cosmetic products.

2009: A ban on animal testing for cosmetic ingredients and combinations of ingredients is introduced as well as a marketing ban for all human health effects with the exception of repeated-dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity and toxicokinetics.

2013: A complete marketing ban for cosmetics containing ingredients tested on animals strengthens the existing bans.

2018: European Parliament adopts a resolution calling for a global ban on animal testing – establishing Europe’s role as a world leader in the fight against animal cruelty.

2021: In recent years ECHA has called for tens of thousands of animals to be used in cosmetics ingredients tests

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • *Animal protection organisations behind the European Citizens Initiative:
    • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and its affiliates in Germany, France and the Netherlands
    • Cruelty Free Europe
    • Humane Society International/Europe and its affiliates in Germany, Italy, Poland and Romania
    • Eurogroup for Animals
    • European Coalition to End Animal Experiments
  • **A European-wide survey among the public to gauge perceptions of animal testing in the EU.

Defra urged to release results of over 30,000 responses to its Call for Evidence on the UK fur trade

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


Raccoon dogs and foxes intensively farmed for fur in Asia, filmed November-December 2020.

LONDON—A group of more than 100 cross-party MPs and Peers has written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Rt Hon George Eustice MP calling on the UK Government to cut Britain’s ties with the cruel fur industry by banning the import and sale of animal fur. Humane Society International/UK, which leads the Fur Free Britain campaign and co-ordinated the letter, is also calling on Defra to publish its analysis of the 30,000 responses submitted to its Call For Evidence on the fur trade earlier this year.

Fur farming was banned across the UK more than two decades ago in 2000, with Britain’s last remaining fur farm closing its doors in 2003. But, since then, Britain has imported more than £800 million worth of fur from countries including Finland, China, France and Poland, where tormented animals such as foxes and mink suffer for their entire lives in barren battery cages, measuring around one square metre. Continuing to allow the import and sale of fur deemed too cruel to produce on our own shores is an unacceptable double standard, say the Parliamentarians and HSI/UK.

The letter reads: “We strongly believe the fur trade is a cruel and outdated practice, which has no place in the UK.

The Government has previously said that a sales ban would be incompatible with our membership of the European Union and, as such, no action could be taken at that time. The UK has now left the EU, and the Government has an opportunity – following the call for evidence on the fur trade held earlier this year – to act as a global leader in moral standards and extend existing fur trade bans (for cat, dog and seal fur) to all animals, thus eliminating illogical protections for some species above others.

With the vast majority of UK high street stores now fur-free, a ban would have limited impact on businesses, and a proper and reasonable phase-out period would ensure that the few businesses still centred on fur could transition to alternative materials.”

Last autumn, Defra Minister Lord Goldsmith stated that: “Fur farming has rightly been banned in this country for nearly 20 years and at the end of the transition period we will be able to properly consider steps to raise our standards still further. That is something the Government is very keen to do.”

In their letter to the Secretary of State, MPs and Peers are now urging the Government to make good on that pledge.

Conservative MP Christian Wakeford who championed the letter, said: “The UK has entered a new chapter in its trading relationship with the rest of the world: banning fur sales will send a strong message that we intend to use this new beginning to set ourselves apart as world leaders in animal welfare. We were trailblazers in banning fur farming almost 20 years ago, and now Brexit has given us the opportunity to set a global example on animal welfare again. There has never been a better time to end our association with this cruel, outdated and unnecessary practice and I hope the strength of cross-party feeling on this issue encourages the Government to introduce a ban at the earliest opportunity.” 

SNP MP Dr Lisa Cameron said: “The UK’s current position on fur is entirely out of step with UK public opinion. Recent polling shows that 72% of the British public support a fur sales ban, and an estimated 83% have never worn fur – this is reflected by our high streets, where almost all stores are ‘fur free.’ Government should take heed of public sentiment, reflected and reinforced by the support of over one hundred Parliamentarians for this cross-party letter, and pursue a fur sales ban without delay.”

Labour MP Maria Eagle said: “The coronavirus pandemic should force governments the world over to reconsider the way we farm, keep, and interact with animals. Exploiting fur-bearing wild species in unsanitary, overcrowded and inhumane factory farms is not only cruel, but also imposes potentially devastating public health risks. Our cross-party letter to the Environment Secretary follows the recent call by over 60 vets and virologists, encouraging governments globally to end fur farming to prevent further disease outbreaks. Following the recent call for evidence on the fur trade in the UK, Ministers must act now to ban fur sales in this country.”

More than one million petition signatures have been gathered in support of #FurFreeBritain, and public opinion polls consistently show that a UK fur sales ban would also enjoy widespread public backing. A Yonder opinion poll published in May 2021 found that 72% of the British public support a ban on the import and sale of all animal fur, replicating exactly the majority support demonstrated by a YouGov opinion poll a year earlier which also revealed Brits’ scathing view of fur as ‘unethical,’ ‘outdated,, ‘cruel’ and ‘out of touch.’

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said: “Furs from around two million tormented animals are imported into the UK each year and there is huge public and political support for Britain to stop this trade in cruelty. This letter shows clear cross-party political appetite for the Government to bring forward legislation to ban fur imports and sales.

We are also urging the Government to publish its analysis of the 30,000 responses received from members of the public and industry to its recent Call for Evidence. If opinion polls are anything to go by, we believe that the vast majority of those responses will be supportive of a ban and will want to see Britain show global leadership towards an end to this cruel, outmoded and unnecessary industry. For as long as fur is traded in Britain, we remain shamefully complicit in the suffering and death of millions of fur bearing animals for frivolous fashion.”

Earlier this year Israel became the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur, and in the United States the city of Ann Arbor in Michigan joined Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and West Hollywood in California, and the towns of Weston and Wellesley in Massachusetts, in also banning fur sales. California became the first US state to ban fur sales in 2019.

Fur Facts:

  • More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide including mink, fox, raccoon dog, chinchilla and coyote – that’s equal to three animals dying every second, just for their fur. Rabbits are also killed for their fur, likely to be in the hundreds of millions.
  • Fur comes with a hefty environmental price tag. Whilst all materials have some eco-footprint, when compared to other textiles, fur takes a significant toll in terms of the C02 emissions associated with keeping and feeding tens of thousands of carnivorous animals on a farm, the manure runoff into lakes and rivers, and the cocktail of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals such as chromium and formaldehyde used to preserve the fur and skin to stop it from rotting.
  • An increasing number of fashion designers and retailers are dropping fur cruelty. In the last few years alone Canada Goose, Oscar de la Rente, Valentino, Macy’s and Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Chanel, Prada and other high-profile brands have announced fur-free policies. In addition, major online fashion retail platforms Net-A-Porter and Farfetch have adopted fur-free policies.
  • Fur farming is not only cruel to animals, it also presents risks to public health. A June letter signed by over 60 veterinarians and virologists highlighted outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 on hundreds of mink fur farms across a dozen countries, and the potential for such farms to act as reservoirs for the virus. It also notes the potential for fur farms to create future zoonotic diseases, stating: “The intensive breeding conditions typical on fur farms – animals unnaturally crowded together, poor hygiene, stress, injuries and low genetic diversity – are ideal for the creation and spread of novel pathogens.” Signatories to the letter support “a permanent global end to the breeding, keeping and killing of animals for the purposes of fur production, and the sale of fur.”

Download Photos/Video from the #FurFreeBritian Campaign

Download Photos/Video from the Chinese Fur Farm Investigation

Download Photos/Video from the Finnish Fur Farm Investigation

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Media Contact: Leozette Roode: Lroode@hsi.org; + 27 71 360 1104

Fur-free pledge follows Mytheresa’s 2021 exotic skins ban

Humane Society International / Europe


Mark Hicken, Alamy Stock photo

MUNICH—Luxury German online fashion retailer Mytheresa has announced it is going fur-free. The platform of more than 200 international designers will be phasing out existing fur inventory by the end of 2022. The ban will cover fur from factory-farmed animals such as mink, fox, chinchilla, muskrat, rabbit, raccoon dog, sable and karakul lamb, as well as fur from wild animals such as coyote and beaver.

The compassionate stance follows the retailer’s decision to ban exotic skins from species including but not limited to python, lizard, alligator, crocodile, ostrich, shark, kangaroo and stingray, since Spring/Summer this year. The pledge has been welcomed by the Germany director for Humane Society International, part of the Humane Society family of organisations, which helped negotiate the fur-free pledge with Mytheresa.

Michael Kliger, CEO of Mytheresa, said: “At Mytheresa, we believe that sustainability is an important part of our future strategy and this view is clearly shared by our customers, partners and employees. As we already stopped buying Exotic Skins in Spring/Summer 2021, it was clear that going fur-free is the natural next step for Mytheresa. We are proud to be making this change and thank the Humane Society of the United States, Four Paws and the Fur Free Alliance for supporting this policy.”

Mytheresa developed its animal welfare policy in collaboration with the Humane Society of the United States, and in accordance with the guidelines of the Fur Free Retailer program. The program is supported by the Fur Free Alliance, an international coalition of more than 50 leading animal welfare and environmental protection organisations. The retailer states that its new policy is in line with the changing needs and ethical choices of its customers, and that it will rely on innovation to continuously seek more sustainable alternatives.

Sylvie Kremerskothen Gleason, Germany director for Humane Society International/Europe, welcomed the pledge and said it’s time for Germany to also ban the sale of cruel fur: “We welcome Mytheresa’s compassionate pledge to go fur-free. This pledge reflects the ethical concerns and demands of consumers and puts the company shoulder to shoulder with some of the most respected names in luxury and designer fashion, such as HUGO BOSS, Canada Goose, Oscar de la Renta, Gucci, Prada, Chanel and Versace, in rejecting fur. We now need the German government to strongly advocate for a Europe-wide ban on fur production and to take appropriate action.”

Despite fur farming bans in many European Union countries, the EU still breeds and kills almost 38 million animals a year on fur farms, which causes immense animal suffering and poses a high public health risk, as many COVID-19 cases in fur farms across Europe have proven.

PJ Smith, director of fashion policy for the Humane Society of the United States, said: “We applaud Mytheresa for its decision to stop selling fur and exotic skins. Animal welfare policies like Mytheresa’s will help drive the demand for innovative materials that are better for animals and the planet and should be part of every company’s environmental, social and corporate governance strategy.”

Humane Society International is dedicated to working with all apparel companies to adopt fur-free policies because they have the capacity to save hundreds of thousands—perhaps millions—of animals from cruelty. HSI’s fur farm investigations show the unbearable existence that animals endure on fur farms before being brutally killed.

Fur facts:

  • More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide including mink, foxes, raccoon dogs, chinchillas and rabbits – that’s equal to three animals dying every second, just for their fur.
  • Germany introduced new animal welfare legislation in 2017, with a five-year transition period, that required stricter standards on fur farms such as increased cages sizes and swimming basins for mink. The new regulations meant that fur farming was no longer deemed profitable and this led to the closure of the last remaining mink farm in 2019, before the new measures came into force. Up to this day, the German government has not introduced an official fur production ban.
  • Mink on more than 420 mink fur farms across 12 countries (including 10 EU member states) have been found infected with COVID-19, leading to mass culls. The potential for zoonotic disease spread, and for mink fur farms in particular to act as reservoirs for coronaviruses, incubating pathogens transmissible to humans, is another compelling reason for governments around the world to call time on fur, by banning farming and sales. Download HSI’s white paper on fur farms and pandemic risks.
  • Fur farming has been banned and/or is in the process of being phased-out in numerous European nations such as Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. In late 2020 the government in Hungary declared a ban on the fur farming of animals including mink and foxes, and in June this year Ireland confirmed it is preparing legislation to end the practice. France, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland and Ukraine are considering fur farming bans.
  • Earlier this year Israel became the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur. In the United States, California became the first US state to ban fur sales in 2019 following similar bans in cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and West Hollywood. The towns of Weston and Wellesley in Massachusetts and the city of Ann Arbor in Michigan have also recently banned fur sales, and more US cities and states are looking to follow suit in the future. In the United Kingdom, the government is also considering a fur sales ban and recently held a public consultation which received 30,000 responses.

Mytheresa’s statement on fur can be found in detail here.

Download photos and video from HSI/UK’s latest Finland fur farm investigation.

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Media Contact: Wendy Higgins: whiggins@hsi.org

Climate change conference can no longer ignore climate impacts of industrialised animal agriculture

Humane Society International / United Kingdom


dhughes9/iStock.com Cattle awaiting slaughter in a feedlot.

LONDON—More than 50 animal protection, environmental and food justice organisations from around the globe have written to Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma MP, president of the COP26 climate change conference organised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), calling on the UNFCCC to publicly recognise the catastrophic impact animal agriculture has on the planet at this year’s conference.

In the animal agriculture industry, more than 88 billion animals are raised and slaughtered for food every year. This industry is responsible for an estimated 14.5%—16.5% of human induced greenhouse gas emissions globally, on par with emissions levels of the entire transport sector. Despite animal agriculture being one of the largest contributors to climate change, it is largely neglected by countries around the world in climate change mitigation strategies and commitments.

The letter, signed by Humane Society International, World Animal Protection, Brighter Green Compassion in World Farming, 50by40, Animal Equality, FOUR PAWS International, ProVeg International, RSPCA, The Humane League and others calls on the COP26 conference, taking place in Glasgow in November, to formally acknowledge animal agriculture’s climate impact. The groups hope that formal recognition at COP26 will encourage world leaders to commit to meat and dairy consumption reduction strategies to meet the Paris Agreement’s below 2°C target.

The letter reads: “Addressing these urgent areas in the UNFCCC COP26 meeting would help propel governments around the world to take action and would provide world leaders with another high impact option to add to their toolbox for tackling climate change. Working with farmers to support and catalyse a shift towards more plant-centric food production and consumption is a proactive step that must be taken to future-proof global food and agricultural industries… We call on the UNFCCC to formally and publicly recognise the role of animal agriculture as one of the largest contributors of climate change and to open a greater space for dialogue.”

In addition to significant greenhouse gas emissions, the farm animal production sector is also the single largest anthropogenic user of land, with meat, egg, dairy and aquaculture production systems using approximately 83% of the world’s farmland while providing just 37% of the world’s protein and 18% of calories. Animal agriculture is also a major driver of deforestation, species extinction, land degradation, exhaustion of water resources and pollution.

Reducing meat and dairy production and consumption is one of the most effective actions we can take to avoid catastrophic climate change. Scientists agree—including the 107 experts who prepared a report for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the more than 11,000 signatories from 153 countries to a recent paper in the journal BioScience —that global shifts towards more plant-based diets will be key in tackling climate change.

The UN’s latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) report revealed that the climate crisis is poised to get worse if greenhouse gas emissions continue to surge, and that the future of the planet depends on the choices that humanity makes today. The report is a stark warning that if we want to win the ‘Race to Zero’, it’s imperative that we tackle every major driver of climate change, including intensive animal agriculture, collaboratively across all countries.

Julie Janovsky, Humane Society International’s vice president for farm animal welfare, says: “When it comes to the impacts of animal agriculture on climate change, we cannot continue to kick the can down the road.  While many governments and constituencies have recognized and taken action to address the impacts of the energy and transport sector, governments have yet to adopt policies to reduce the impact of large-scale, intensive animal agriculture on the environment. If we are serious about avoiding climate catastrophe, world leaders must acknowledge the science and implement strategies to change our global food system to one that significantly reduces industrial animal agriculture. Reducing the number of animals raised and slaughtered is a legitimate and essential component of tackling climate change, restoring biodiversity and ending the cruelty caused by factory farms. Ignoring the immense climate impact of industrial animal farming is no longer an option, and the COP26 climate change conference offers a vital opportunity for world leaders to take action.”

Cities and countries are beginning to acknowledge and make an effort to reduce meat consumption as a climate change mitigation strategy. Earlier this year, France announced that its climate and resilience bill encourages a more plant-based diet to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions. The bill includes that by 2023, all school cafeterias will have to feature one compulsory vegetarian menu once a week, and that at least one daily vegetarian option should be offered in all state-run canteens. Shortly after, the City Council of Berkeley in the United States also passed a resolution to divert half of the city’s spending money from animal-based foods to plant-based foods by 2024. Further, the Council will also look to adopt a long-term goal of replacing 100% of animal products with plant-based products to combat climate change.

The open NGO-led letter is signed by:

  • 50by40
  • A Well-Fed World
  • AbibiNsroma Foundation
  • Albert Schweitzer Stiftung für unsere Mitwelt
  • Alianima
  • Animal Equality
  • Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Animals Aotearoa
  • Aquatic Life Institute
  • Bank Information Center
  • Brighter Green
  • Center for Biological Diversity
  • Coalition for Sustainable Food Practices
  • Compassion in World Farming
  • Creature Kind
  • Default Veg
  • Djurens Rätt
  • Earthjustice
  • Eat for the Earth
  • Eurogroup for Animals
  • EuroVeg
  • Factory Farming Awareness Coalition
  • Farm Forward
  • Farm Sanctuary
  • Feedback
  • Fish Welfare Initiative
  • Foundation for Advice and Action in the Defence of Animals (FAADA)
  • FOUR PAWS International
  • Fundación Vegetarianos Hoy
  • Green REV Institute
  • Harvard Animal Law & Policy Program
  • Humane Society International
  • Humane Society of the United States
  • Jem pre Zem
  • LAV
  • Nourish Scotland
  • One Kind
  • Phoenix Zones Initiatives
  • Plant Based Health Professionals UK
  • ProVeg International
  • RSPCA
  • Science and Environmental Health Network
  • Sinergia Animal
  • Song Thuan Chay
  • The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries
  • The Humane League
  • The Humane League UK
  • The Raven Corps
  • True Animal Protein Price Coalition
  • True Health Initiative
  • Vegan Society
  • Veganuary
  • VegeProject Japan (VPJ)

ENDS

Media Contact: Leozette Roode, HSI/UK: +27 (0)713601104; LRoode@hsi.org

Humane Society International


unoL/iStock.com

SANTIAGO DE CHILE—A federal cruelty-free cosmetics bill championed by Humane Society International and Te Protejo passed the first stage of review by the Health Commission within the Chilean Chamber of Deputies with bipartisan political support, regulatory backing and the support of cosmetics companies. The Health Commission unanimously supported Bulletin 13.966-11 to ban animal testing for cosmetics, as well as the import or sale of beauty products developed with reliance on new animal testing carried out anywhere in the world after the law comes into force. The commission voted to move forward to study the bill in further detail.

“We are delighted to see that this bill has widespread support, and commend members of the Health Commission, the Chilean Cosmetic Chamber and the Institute of Public Health for their support in moving this groundbreaking legislation to the next stage in the legislative process. We are looking forward to seeing Chile become the next country to be cruelty-free,” said Daniela Sanchez, HSI country director for Chile.

The bill is supported by industry leaders like Lush, Unilever, P&G, L’Oréal and Avon, which are working with HSI to secure meaningful animal testing bans in many of the world’s most influential beauty markets, including Chile. In addition to pursuing legislative bans, HSI and its partners are collaborating to develop a training program under the Animal-Free Safety Assessment to support smaller companies and government authorities transition from animal testing to state-of-the-art non-animal methods, which are readily available and better at assuring human safety than the animal tests they replace.

“Te Protejo has been working for nine years to raise awareness and consciousness among citizens in relation to the cruelty that testing on animals involves. Recent polling illustrates that 72% of Chileans support the ban on animal testing. The support from deputies from the Health Commission could propel Chile to become the 41st country to ban animal testing in cosmetics in the world,” Nicole Valdebenito, director of communication and corporate affairs of NGO Te Protejo said.

Earlier this year HSI launched #SaveRalph, a stop-motion animated short film to raise awareness and secure support to end cosmetic animal testing in key beauty markets around the world. #SaveRalph generated awareness for cosmetic animal testing with over 4.5 million signatures worldwide and in 300,000 in Chile alone. The film has since been viewed over 150 million times and has caught the attention of policy makers around the world.

ENDS

Media Contacts:

  • Aviva Vetter, the Humane Society of the United States: 514-975-9720; avetter@hsi.org
  • Nicole Valdebenito, Te Protejo: +52 1 55 83944794; nicole@ongteprotejo.org

Humane Society International


Dog Meat Free Indonesia Coalition

KULON PROGO, Indonesia—Indonesia’s first ever prosecution of dog meat traders under animal health laws is set to go ahead, officials have confirmed, in what the country’s animal campaigners hope will be a major turning point in the demise of the brutal trade. Kulon Progo District Police intercepted the gang in May this year when they were illegally transporting 78 dogs bound and gagged in the back of a truck. The dogs were headed for slaughter for human consumption throughout Central Java. This was the first ever such interception in Indonesia, and followed discussions with the Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition which campaigns for a nationwide ban on the brutal trade.

The Kulon Progo District Attorney’s Office confirmed in a statement its intention to prosecute the traders who are considered to have violated Article 89 of Law No. 18/ 2009 concerning Livestock and Animal Health, with a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment or a maximum fine of 1.5 billion IDR (over $100,000 USD); as well as Article 140 of Law No. 18/ 2021 on Food, with a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment or a maximum fine of 4 billion IDR (over $275,000 USD).

The dogs in this case had all been stolen from the streets where pet dogs freely roam. Many were still wearing collars whilst bound on the truck to be transported from West Java on a gruelling journey lasting more than 10 hours. The traders illegally crossed provincial borders with the dogs, with no record of the animals’ disease or vaccination status. For example, Solo is an epicentre for much of Java’s dog meat trade, with 85 street stalls selling dog meat, brutally slaughtering an estimated 13,700 dogs each month in filthy makeshift slaughterhouses with no way of ensuring the meat is safe for consumers.

The Dog Meat Free Indonesia coalition has conducted numerous investigations over the past several years, exposing the brutal reality of the trade in dogs destined for human consumption. Every month, tens of thousands of these dogs are taken from the streets and illegally transported in many parts of Indonesia. Many die during this horrific journey from heatstroke, dehydration or injuries inflicted during capture and transport. Those who survive are taken to slaughterhouses where they are beaten and strung upside down to bleed out while still conscious or beaten to death in public markets in some parts of the country, in full view of other terrified dogs who await their turn.

Lola Webber, Humane Society International’s dog meat campaign director, who is based in Indonesia, says: “There are thousands of dog trucks across Indonesia just like this one, illegally transporting terrified and disease-vulnerable dogs across provincial borders to slaughterhouses and markets. We have documented first-hand dogs being slaughtered in public alongside myriad wild and domestic species in markets in North Sulawesi. It is easy to see how this trade is not only utterly brutal, but also the perfect breeding ground for the next serious public health disaster. New pathogens could jump to humans in a number of ways – a dog trader wounded during the day’s slaughter, a local consumer eating cross-contaminated dog meat bought at a nearby stall, or a tourist breathing in microscopic blood droplets as they sight-see the markets. So in the face of such an obvious public health and animal welfare risk, it is good to see what we hope to be the first of many interceptions and prosecutions. We cannot allow the dog meat trade to thrive across Asia if we hope to protect the public from future pandemics.”

“We commend Kulon Progo District Police for setting such a good example for the rest of the country by taking direct action, and we congratulate Karanganyar and Sukoharjo Regencies and Salatiga City for explicitly prohibiting the trade in their jurisdictions on the grounds of public and animal health and welfare. We now need to see the same level of activity across Indonesia to stamp out this cruel, dangerous and unwelcome trade.”

Dog meat trade facts:

  • Opinion polls show that only a small minority of Indonesia’s population (4.5%) consume dog meat and only a very small number of those involved in the trade rely on dog meat as their main source of income.
  • Rabies is a grave concern in Indonesia, with just eight out of 34 provinces declared rabies-free. Provinces such as Central Java are jeopardising their rabies-free status by allowing dogs of unknown disease and vaccination status to be imported from surrounding provinces to supply dog meat, despite opinion polls showing just 3% of Central Javans consume it.
  • The illegal movement of large numbers of dogs of unknown disease status into densely populated areas contravenes rabies control recommendations by leading human and animal health experts including the World Health Organization, the Pan American Health Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as well as national disease prevention legislation.
  • There are widely publicised reports directly linking the dog meat trade to rabies transmission in many parts of Asia where the dog meat trade operates, including Indonesia. Scientific reports have documented rabies-positive dogs being sold and slaughtered in markets in Indonesia, as well as in restaurants and slaughterhouses in China and Viet Nam.
  • Dog theft for the meat trade is a serious problem in Indonesia. Dog Meat Free Indonesia has interviewed many residents who have described their terrifying ordeal with armed traders stealing their pets at night. Despite the obvious law-breaking, thefts are rarely taken seriously by law enforcement, so the thieves go unpunished.
  • Across Asia, opposition to the dog and cat meat trades is increasing, with an ever-growing number of countries and territories (Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand and two major cities in mainland China) banning the trade in and slaughter, sale and consumption of dogs.
  • The Dog Meat Free Indonesia campaign has received support from global and Indonesian superstars including a letter to President Joko Widodo in 2018 calling for action to end the country’s dog and cat meat trades signed by Simon Cowell, Sophia Latjuba, Yeslin Wang, Nadia Mulya, Lawrence Enzela, Cameron Diaz, Chelsea Islan, Ellen DeGeneres and Pierce Brosnan.

Download Videos of Solo Investigations

Download Photos of Solo Investigations

ENDS

Media Contacts:

  • Lola Webber, Humane Society International: +6281337408768; E-mail: Lwebber@hsi.org
  • Karin Franken, national coordinator Dog Meat Free Indonesia CoalitionTel: +628212287794 E-mail: jaan_adopt@yahoo.com

The death of Mopane is reminiscent of Cecil’s demise

Humane Society International / Africa


Chris Upton/Alamy Stock Photo Lion in the wild.

WASHINGTON—A majestic lion named Mopane was allegedly killed by an American hunter outside of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe last week. Mopane’s death has sparked international outcry with details surrounding his killing similar to those of Cecil the lion, slaughtered in 2015 in the same area. With his impressive mane, Mopane was well-known to local tour guides and international tourists visiting the area to catch a glimpse of him.

Just like 13-year-old Cecil who was lured with an elephant carcass as bait, it was reported that the approximately 12-year-old Mopane was possibly lured out of the Hwange National Park with bait and killed in in the same place that Cecil was killed on land adjacent to the Park. Like Cecil who headed up a lion pride, Mopane was known to have formed a coalition with another male lion named Sidhule, and the two males formed a pride with two adult females and six sub-adults of about 16 to 18 months old. Locals were concerned that Sidhule and Mopane would be targeted by trophy hunters and started a petition to protect them. Unfortunately, Sidhule fell victim to a trophy hunter and was killed two years ago this month in 2019.

Kitty Block, CEO of Humane Society International and president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said, “Mopane was a father and played a significant role in his pride. Without him, his pride is now vulnerable to takeover by another male or group of males, which may lead to the killing of the cubs and females in his pride. Yet, as with Cecil six years ago, the perverse pleasure some people derive from killing iconic animals brought this noble lion’s life to a tragic end. Another trophy hunter spending tens of thousands of dollars on a globe-trotting thrill-to-kill escapade shows humanity at its worst. It is shameful that the U.S. has the distinction of being the world’s biggest importer of hunting trophies. Enough is enough.” 

Sara Amundson, president of Humane Society Legislative Fund said, “The individual depravity that underlies trophy hunting is self-evident. But the terrible truth is that our federal government systematically enables trophy hunting of threatened and endangered species by Americans through its failure to revise import policies that permit the bloodshed to continue. On the campaign trail President Biden expressed his concern for this issue and he can and should now direct the relevant federal agencies to halt the import of trophy parts from species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Until we have a properly implemented regulatory framework that upholds the conservation mandate in federal law, this is little more than lawless carnage.”

The African lion is protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. However, trophy hunters continue to be authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to import trophy-hunted lions and other species threatened with extinction under a permitting scheme that HSUS and HSI have challenged as violating federal law. The Humane Society Legislative Fund is currently working with the Administration and Congress to address this dangerous and broken import permit system.

Neither Cecil’s nor Mopane’s killings are anomalies. Between 2009 and 2018, 7,667 lion trophies were traded internationally, including into the U.S. and the European Union. In addition to advocating to eliminate the import of lion trophies into the U.S., HSI is working in South Africa to prohibit the export of lion trophies and in the U.K. and European Union to prohibit the import of imperiled species trophies.

Additional information:

  • An estimated 20,000 mature lions remain in the wild in Africa.
  • Lions are infanticidal species. Infanticide occurs when adult males take over a new territory and kills the dependent cubs in order to increase mating opportunities with resident females that have dependent offspring.
  • Human-induced removal of lions, such as trophy hunting, disrupts social group and results in infanticide. More information on African lions can be found
  • While the U.S. is the largest importer of hunting trophies, the EU has surpassed the U.S. as the largest importer of lion trophies between 2016 and 2018 according to a new report by HSI/Europe.

ENDS

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